Gay rights organizations are criticizing President Obama for his refusal to sign an executive order forbidding federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Obama aides delivered the message to gay rights groups yesterday, saying they want Congress to pass an anti-discrimination law.
“Our organizers and activists are really angry about this,” said Heather Cronk, managing director of a civil rights group called GetEqual. “It’s really worrisome that the White House is not taking a stand on this.”
Cronk said there is no chance that a Republican-run House will pass what is known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; it requires a presidential executive order.
Cronk said she would not be surprised if gay rights supporters protest at future Obama events (as they have in the past).
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “we are extremely disappointed with this decision and will continue to advocate for an executive order from the president. The unfortunate truth is that hard-working Americans can be fired simply for being gay or transgender.”
White House officials said Obama opposes discrimination against gay employees, and will continue to work on the issue.
Spokesman Shin Inouye said in an e-mail:
“The President is dedicated to securing equal rights for LGBT Americans and that is why he has long supported an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employers across the country from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The President is committed to lasting and comprehensive change and therefore our goal is passage of ENDA, which is a legislative solution to LGBT employment discrimination — just as the President pressed for legislative repeal of DADT.”